Six Steps to Start Journaling

“I really wished I journaled more” is definitely something you’ve said or heard one of your friends say.  Whenever I pull out my journal, someone always tells me they wish they recorded their lives more.  Hell, I’ve even said it, even though I’ve been regularly journaling since I was 8 years old when I experienced my first pet-death and I needed an outlet.  Now, journaling is so much more than an outlet.  I love it because it lets me tell my own story, no matter how average and mundane the details may be.  Your life can only improve from writing, so here are my six steps to journaling more, and why.

1. Find the writing medium that suits you the best

Even though I have found that pen to paper works best for me, there are other options than just a traditional notebook. You could use a stylus to write on a tablet (ala the Disney Channel Original Movie Read It and Weep), you could record little voice memos, or you could simply type in the notes on your computer or keep an anonymous blog. Lena Dunham released is it evil not to be sure?, a collection of her journal entries that she wrote in a word document from her sophomore year of college. Typing might work better for you if you feel like your thoughts move faster than your hand can type. A physical diary might work best if you don’t always carry your electronics on you, or if you want to tape physical items in along with your words.

2. If you pick a physical journal, choose a small one

I know large journals with lots of pages look luscious and usually have nicer designs, but trust me on this one. I’ve written in all different sizes of journals, and the thin ones work best for moral. If a diary is large, then you can write in it for months and feel like you’ve barely filled it up at all. This thought will discourage you from writing, or you may just get bored of opening the same cover day in and day out. Nothing makes me more excited than writing in a new journal, so keep them thin so they fill up quicker and you can buy cute new journals more often.

3. Write earlier in the day

“I’ll write later, I’ll write later, I’ll write later…” and suddenly you wake up the next morning and you completely forgot to write at all. Write right when you wake up, or as soon as you can, so you at least have SOMETHING down on paper. Life can go from zero to insanely busy in a blink of an eye, so even if you plan on writing “later”, something could come up and you won’t get the chance. Even if it’s something as simple as “I had a banana for breakfast, woke up too late to make coffee”, it’s still better than nothing.

4. Write even when nothing remarkable happens

It can be hard to write about your life when it feels monotonous. Wake up, go to school, go to work, come home, make dinner, go to bed…it can be hard to write when nothing “interesting” happens. Find something to write about anyways. Write about a song you heard in the car that you liked, or that squirrel you saw on the side of the road, or the names of the people you chatted with that day. Even if your life follows a routine every day is truly unique. Journaling can help you see the magical in the mundane.

5. Don’t stress about the aesthetics of journaling

Bullet journals and scrapbooks are pretty, but they also take up a lot of time. If you’re an artsy person then go ahead, bejazzle and doodle and paint the hell out of your journal. But if you’re not artsy in the slightest, then don’t put pressure on yourself to be something you’re not. There’s nothing wrong with your journal being nothing more than ink and paper.

6. Don’t get mad at yourself

Journaling is supposed to be fun and cathartic; if you get mad at yourself for not doing it “right”, then that defeats the whole purpose. There is no right or wrong way to journal. Your journal is just as unique as your personality or body, so there’s no point in comparing it to somebody else’s.

Have you tried journaling? What are your tips?

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  • Love this post! I always keep saying i want to write a journal, i start one and then forget about it. Its funny how often you start writing and think, this is all rubbish why am i writing it down. But then after reading your post i guess thats still the idea, the mundane can and will happen but its not everyday. Thanks! 🙂 !